running edubuntu as a virtual server

Jim Kronebusch jim at
Thu Mar 6 19:28:35 GMT 2008

On Thu, 6 Mar 2008 10:47:36 -0500, Madzsar, Andrew wrote
> We just received a grant which will allow us to buy around 45 thin
> clients + a server.  Has anyone ever run Edubuntu as a virtualized
> server?  This school does not usually get new hardware, so if I can get
> a new xserve and (hopefully soon) run vmware or parallels virtual server
> products on it then we would be very happy.

I wonder if an Apple Xserve would have the hardware requirements to be able to run OSX
plus a virtualized OS that could handle 120 clients.  You might be better off with
hardware that can run something like ESX server on raw hardware without the need of a
host  OS.  Also I don't know what the physical processor limit is in a virtual
environment, most things I've read indicate that you can only allocate 4 physical
processors per VM.  Also for that many clients you might want RAID 10 to be able to
handle that much data access and a few NICs teamed together.  I don't know if any of the
Apple hardware is capable of those RAID levels or the addition of 4 PCIx Nics.  

My setup here is 108 DevonIT 6020p clients with 512MB RAM and run the monitors at
1280x1024 resolution.  The server is a dual quad core Xeon with 16GB RAM and 6 Nics
teamed with adaptive load balancing.  Usually we have about 75 concurrent users and CPU
usages hits 30% and RAM usage hits 6GB or so.  The NICs are at around 2-3GB of data
transfer at this usage.  I run a RAID 10 that consists of a stripe of three mirrors of
two 15,000 RPM 3Gbps SAS drives.  I don't know if the drive setup is overkill but beyond
the possibility of 108 clients running from it, it is also the central file storage for
all other data on campus besides mail, so it might have the Computer Arts lab
simultaneously transferring 20 1.5GB files while 75 users are on clients.  It sounds
like you might be planning to use your server this way as well.

My plan is to have this server handle 125 clients in the future plus 50 workstations
booting with DRBL or as low-fat clients from it.  So I want to be sure that my NIC
configuration and drives can handle a ton of data requests.

I paid about $12,000 for the Dell 2900 server with dual quad cores, 16GB RAM, 6 nics,
and 6 300GB SAS drives and dual power supplies.  The server can also upgrade to 32GB
RAM.  This is a little costly but it leaves me a lot of room to grow for the price.

Hope that helps.

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